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Week of August 20, 2017 - Herb Walk at Clef des Champs

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 3:46 PM | Wise Woman (Administrator)

Herb Walk at Clef des Champs



Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)


As we get out of the car at Marie’s house, we are greeted by her and by this amazing patch of one of my favorite plants: Lady’s mantle. It is the alchemical plant (Alchemilla); not to be confused with yarrow (Alchillea).





This beautiful plant has refused to grow in my stony soil, but is obviously delighted with the soil in Val David. I have also seen it flourish in seaside gardens. It is highly regarded as one of the world’s best tonics for women’s reproductive health.





The accordion-pleated leaves hold the dew, which was collected by alchemists intent on turning lead into gold, because it was “pure” water, untouched by the earth. Perhaps you sense why I am not so happy about what alchemy did to herbal medicine: Took it away from women. Made the Earth impure. Denied the life of the plant and reduced it to constituents. And started the stampede to drugs. Nonetheless, I love Lady’s mantle.


Setting the Scene




As we enter the extensive gardens at Clef des Champes, we are greeted with this lovely trio of useful plants: Bouncing Bet (Saponaria off.), rosehip roses (Rosa rugose), and thyme (Thymus sp.). Wash your hands, your hair, and any antique wall hanging with the soapy foam made by rubbing fresh soapwort (Bouncing Bet) in your hands. Wait a bit and those roses will turn into huge red rosehips ready to help you through the winter. I deseed the hips and boil the flesh with honey for a yummy jam. And what shall we do with the thyme? Dry it to use in soup? Make a wonderful vinegar? Tincture it to help with digestive distress? The bees are making honey from it. Yes. Let’s make thyme honey to ward off winter sore throats.


~ Herb Walk, Part 2 ~

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